Posted on Tue, Jun 6, 2006Topinka Offers $50,000 in Scholarships to Grandparents
Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka is now taking applications for the Third Annual Bright Dreams - A Promise for the Next Generation scholarship program specifically for grandparents to help send their grandchildren to college.
A total of $50,000 in scholarship money will be awarded to the winners of a 500 word essay contest answering the question, "My grandchild will shape the future by &(fill in the blank)," said Topinka.
The applications will be divided up into five regions throughout the State of Illinois and be judged by volunteers provided by the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. Eight Bright Start scholarships will be awarded in each region: one for $5,000; two for $1,250 and five for $500.
The regions are: 1) Cook County; 2) the Collar Counties; 3) Northern Illinois; 4) Central Illinois; and 5) Southern Illinois. Each region will have an independent review board, which will select the winners based on how well the theme is approached.
"Sending a child to college is one of the greatest expenses families have to endure and grandparents are increasingly helping to fund their grandchildren's education," said Topinka. "That is why the State Treasurer's Office wants to lend them a hand through our Bright DreamsProgram."
The applicant must complete and sign the 2006 Bright Start Bright Dreams Program Application. It must be mailed, together with the essay, and received no later than July 3, 2006. Again, the essay should be no more than 500 words and be clearly hand written or typed. Only one entry is permitted per individual.
"We would like to thank the Illinois Retired Teachers Association again for their help in making this scholarship a success&I mean, who better to grade these essays than teachers, right?" said Topinka.
Winners will be notified in August via certified mail to the address indicated on the application.
The scholarship would come in the form of a 529 Bright Start College Savings Account. A Bright Start College Savings Account offers exceptional tax benefits, including:
All qualified withdrawals are exempt from Illinois income taxes
All qualified withdrawals are exempt from federal income taxes
Contributions are Illinois income tax deductible
"With this account you would be joined by more than 134,000 otheraccount holders who have invested nearly two billion dollars!" said Topinka.
For further information or to request an application, please contact Tony Presta at the Illinois State Treasurer's office at 312-814-3742.
Applications are also available on the Treasurer's website at www.state.il.us/treas or the Bright Start website at www.brightstartsavings.com.
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